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West Seattle Tool Library
We Need Your Help!

Ever borrow a tool from your neighbor? Ever wish they had a better selection? Sustainable West Seattle has won a grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and has set up a tool lending library. You can find out more information or check out our inventory!

Energy Blog: Comments on the Proposed Cherry Point Coal Terminal

By Andy Silber

These are the comments I’m sending to the Environmental Impact Statement Scoping process (comments@eisgatewaypacificwa.gov) about the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point. I strongly believe that stopping coal exports through Washington State is our most important environmental struggle.  

I believe strongly that the scope of the EIS for the Cherry Point Coal Terminal needs to include all environmental and health impacts that will be the result of building this facility. The ..continue reading

Energy Blog: Sustainable Tourism in Tanzania

By Andy Silber

Ecotourism in Tanzania

I’m just back from a 2 week safari in Tanzania with my extended family. My mother, 2 brothers and our families made up half of an armada of Toyota Land Cruisers driving across the national parks of northern Tanzania. Safari is the Swahili word for long journey and anything that starts and ends with a 20-hour plane flight with a seven-year old counts. The first safari was in 1836 led by William Cornwallis ..continue reading

Energy Blog: The Lorax: I Speak for Myself

By Andy Silber

The Lorax: I speak for myself

The book that is often cited for awakening the environmental movement was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring. It’s publication in 1962 (a year before I was born) is given credit for the banning of DDT and the passage of the clean air and clean water acts. But for those of us born in the 1960s, the book that opened our eyes to the need to protect the world around us was a book ..continue reading

Energy Blog: Why I Take the Bus: It’s Safer, Creates Community, Provides Quality Time

By Andy Silber

Why I’m taking the bus

I’m starting this blog entry as I ride the bus back from my new job at Microsoft. My new commute has gotten me thinking about transportation in King County. Usually it’s pretty obvious whether or not I’m going to take the bus or drive to work. Sometimes there has been a good bus route and expensive parking (downtown/U-district) and in other cases there was an easy drive with free parking and no good bus ..continue reading

Energy Blog: Superheroes Without Cape: NW Energy Group Ponders Efficiency, Grids

by Andy Silber Not All Superheroes Wear a Cape: Energy Wonks in Seattle for NWEC’s Fall Conference

Thirty years ago a group of intrepid energy wonks realized the solution to our energy needs was not building a bunch of expensive nuclear power plants, but to aggressively capture the cost effective energy-efficiency measures available at a fraction of the cost, risk and environmental impact. These champions of truth, justice and the Northwest way continue their struggle. Few know them: they do their work in the meeting spaces of government commissions, utility boardrooms and wherever ..continue reading

Energy Blog: Coal Export Ports Dumbest Thing We Can Do

Why building coal export ports in Washington is about the dumbest thing we could do

By Andy Silber

There are two proposals to build coal-export terminals in Washington: one in Longview and the other just north of Bellingham. Building these terminals is akin to building a road through a wilderness area to a bridge you just torn down. Washingtonians didn’t pass I-937 (the initiative that requires utilities to increase their use of renewable resources) so that we could export more coal to China. Our state legislature didn’t ..continue reading

Energy Blog: NW Wind Power – Too Much of a Good Thing?

By Andy Silber

Too Much of a Good Thing? The Challenges of Wind Development in the Northwest

It was recently reported that the Northwest power grid operators (primarily the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)) plan to instruct wind farm operators to turn their turbines off occasionally this spring, because our grid can’t handle all of the power. Why are we turning off wind farms now and not shutting down Washington’s only coal power plant until 2025?

We often hear ..continue reading

Energy Blog: What Does Earth Day Mean?

By Andy Silber

What does Earth Day mean?

Pardon my rambling; I just have some thoughts on the environmental movement on the 41st anniversary of Earth Day that I want to share with you. There’s a homework assignment at the end. Don’t worry, only the fate of our civilization depends on the answers. You will be graded.

In many ways the movement has come a long way: rivers don’t catch on fire; the manufacture of ozone depleting chemicals have been stopped; coal plants are often required to use the “Best available control technology” to reduce air pollution; CAFE standards were implemented to improve gas millage. Most companies at least pretend to be “Green” and some actually take it seriously. Google is investing in renewable energy and GM and Nissan are building electric powered cars. Teaching about the environment is now part of most schools’ curriculum and recycling is common in many places. So we have accomplished much. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

The early days were about collective action such as the Clean Water Act (passed in 1972) and the Clean Air Act (passed in 1970). The last major new law passed was ratification of the Montreal Protocol to deal with Ozone depleting gases, which was negotiated and signed by George Herbert Walker Bush. There have been updates to the Clean Air and Water Acts and tightening of CAFE standards and other tweaks, but no new major initiatives. This would be acceptable if there were no big environmental challenges remaining. Obviously that is not the case. So far Congress has taken no action to deal with climate change. To the contrary, the moderate first steps the Obama administration is taking under the authority of the Clean Air Act are under constant threat by Congress. Continue reading…

By Andy Silber

What does Earth Day mean?

Pardon my rambling; I just have some thoughts on the environmental movement on the 41st anniversary of Earth Day that I want to share with you. There’s a homework assignment at the end. Don’t worry, only the fate of our civilization depends on the answers. You will be graded.

In many ways the movement has come a long way: rivers don’t catch on fire; the manufacture of ozone depleting chemicals have been stopped; ..continue reading

Energy Blog: Smart Grids & True Energy Efficiencies

By Andy Silber

A Tale of Two Talks: Smart Grid and Reinventing Fire

In the last week I’ve attended two talks: a breakfast meeting hosted by the Washington Green Tech Alliance on the Smart Grid and a talk by Amory Lovins founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute on their Reinventing Fire plan. These talks reminded me of the opening of one of Dickens great novels (great as in big), not because one ..continue reading

Energy Blog: Wind Power Needs Transmission Line Help

By Andy Silber

The Poorest County in the Country is in the middle of the Saudi Arabia of Wind

The latest rankings show that the poorest county in the Country is Ziebach County, South Dakota. Two Indian Reservations make up this very rural county with a population density of 1.3 people per square mile (as compared to  816 people per square mile for King County). This is a place where more than 60% of the people live at or below the ..continue reading

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